ORIGINALLY WRITTEN TOM STOPPEL
To every KCAC school with a track and field team-except maybe defending champion Southwestern College-the Tabor Bluejays gave notice they are a force to be reckoned with come conference meet time.
The Bluejay men easily outdistanced second place McPherson 163-137 while the women finished second to Bethany with 114 points.
“We didn’t go to win the meet,” coach Dave Kroeker said. “At this time of the season, it’s more about the kids doing what they need to do to get better.
“But I was really pleased with the outcome of this meet,” he added. “A lot of times at track meet you have a few good results, a few not so good and quite a few in between. But we had very few that I would consider disappointing on Saturday.”
For the men, Doug Pierce broke his own school record in the triple jump with a leap of 47-feet, 10-inches.
“Doug increased his place in the national rankings, although there aren’t that terribly many distances in this early in the season,” Kroeker said.
Chris Baarts captured second in the 100-meter dash (10.93) running into the wind. Caleb Stanton placed second in the 200 (22.95) and first in the 400 (49.23).
In the 110-meter hurdles, Trent Voth placed second with a school record time of 14.77. Brian Lightner took third (14.80). Both have qualified for the national outdoor meet. Lightner also won the 400-meter hurdles (55.80).
Matt Lynam won gold in the 10,000 meters (39:47.35) while Matt Rorabaugh placed second in the high jump (6-7) to provisionally qualify for the national meet.
In pole vault, Silas Hibbs won and Caleb Marsh placed third; both cleared 14-0. “That’s not a personal record for Caleb but it is for Silas,” Kroeker said.
Jarod Richardson placed second in the shot put (44-41/4), which would have been the fourth best throw in the conference so far, according to Kroeker.
For the women, Ashley Malcolm placed second in the triple jump at 37-0 to provisionally qualify for nationals. She was second in high jump at 5-2.
Jennifer Palmgren (8-6) and Shelby Miller (8-0) placed third and fourth, respectively, in the pole vault as both cleared personal-best heights.
Amber Wiens won gold in the steeple chase with a personal-best time of 13:00.00.
Breanna Wray was third in the shot put (39-61/4) with a personal best throw.
Heidi Schmidt placed first in the 1,500 (5:11.32).
“She ran a really strong race,” Kroeker said. “But she wasn’t really pushed that hard.”
Schmidt placed second in the 800 (2:33.82).
“Overall from two weeks ago, most of our kids had improved performances,” Kroeker said. “We’ve already got five kids who have qualified for the outdoor nationals. That’s unprecedented for my teams.
“We’re ahead of where I had hoped we would be at this point in the season with the athletes on both teams.”
Coming-Tabor travels to Wichita on Saturday for the Friends University Invitational. Events begin at 10 a.m.